AS MANY as 40 jobs could be axed at a county brewery after the decision was taken to move distribution to Alloa.

Belhaven Brewery currently employs about 100 members of staff, split over sites on Brewery Lane, in Belhaven, and Spott Road, in Dunbar, but the number could drop significantly, with the future of lorry drivers and warehouse staff, those in Dunbar, coming under review.

Belhaven Brewery's main site (A on the map) and its Spott Road warehouse (B).

A spokeswoman for Greene King was keen to stress that brewing jobs in Belhaven were not under review and was hopeful the number of jobs lost at the Spott Road warehouse (pictured below, by Google Maps) would also be considerably less than 40.

East Lothian Courier:

She also highlighted that consultation was still ongoing, while significant investment had been made in the area in recent years.

Chris Houlton, Greene King and Belhaven brewing and brands managing director, said: “Providing our customers with the highest level of customer service and developing our business so we can continue to grow our sales and distribution in Scotland is a priority for us.

“Over recent years, our customer footprint has changed in Scotland and in order to respond to this, we are proposing to centralise our Scottish distribution operation in Alloa.

“Unfortunately, this means there are a number of roles at risk of redundancy at our Dunbar depot, although we are working hard to redeploy as many people as possible.

“We are absolutely committed to the continued investment in our Scottish business, including developing our new and exciting beer ranges.”

The decision has concerned local politicians, with both George Kerevan MP and Iain Gray MSP outlining their fears.

Mr Kerevan told the Courier: “Job losses are always traumatic, particularly for the families who may be involved.

“I have already visited Belhaven to speak to the management to urge that any changes to the local workforce are kept to the minimum and that everything is done to ensure alternatives, including voluntary redundancy or relocation, are offered to those who may be affected.

“Belhaven has a good reputation as a lifetime employer and adds much to the Dunbar and East Lothian economy.

“I am sure the management will want to maintain that reputation.”

Meanwhile, Mr Gray described the brewery as “an important employer in Dunbar for many years”.

He added: “Any decision which will result in the loss of local jobs is clearly very disappointing.

“I have already written to the managing director at Belhaven asking him to reconsider this decision.

“If the warehouse on Spott Road does close, I hope that Greene King will do everything possible to minimise the job losses and to ensure that the iconic Belhaven brand continues to be brewed in the town.”